Ways to Extend the Life of Your Proximity Access Card

Ways to Extend the Life of Your Proximity Access Card

by Mike Boehm on August 01, 2023

Access control cards play a pivotal role in ensuring the security and convenience of individuals within an organization. These small yet powerful devices, also known as company access cards, provide authorized personnel with seamless entry to various areas, enhancing the overall operational efficiency of the facility. As such, access control cards serve as the lifeblood of the security network for any facility that utilizes an access control system. Therefore, it is crucial to adopt proper maintenance practices in order to maximize the value of your access control card and extend its lifespan. In this article, we will explore several key strategies to help you prolong the life of your access control card and ensure its optimal performance.

Common Ways Access Control Cards Get Damaged

Access control cards and company access cards contain an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) microchip that allows the card to communicate with proximity card readers. Though this access control technology has revolutionized the way the corporate world operates, company access cards are not indestructible, and their RFID microchip can be permanently damaged through a variety of simple mistakes. These include, but are not limited to:

  • putting the card through the washing machine
  • leaving the card in direct sunlight (e.g., on the car dash) for too long
  • punching a hole in the card in order to attach it to a lanyard
  • severely bending the card; most commonly, people do this by leaving the card in their back pocket and sitting on it, or by using their card as an ice-scraper for their car
  • accidently exposing the card to harsh cleaners and chemicals (e.g., nail polish remover, isopropyl alcohol, etc.)
  • demagnetizing the card by keeping it in close proximity to magnets for too long
  • scratching the magnetic strip on the card
  • exposing the card to a strong electrostatic discharge (ESD)

All of these simple mistakes damage either the RFID microchip or the internal circuitry of the access control card, thereby preventing it from being accessed by a card reader.

How to Maximize Your Company Access Card’s Lifespan

  1. Handle with Care

One of the fundamental ways to extend the life of your access control card is to handle it with care. Treat it as you would any valuable item, protecting it from physical damage or exposure to harsh elements. Avoid bending, scratching, or placing heavy objects on top of the card, as these actions can compromise its functionality.

Additionally, you can store your access control card in a protective sleeve or wallet specifically designed for card storage. This shields the card from external contaminants, such as dirt, dust, or moisture, which could potentially damage the card's magnetic strip or RFID microchip. By practicing gentle handling and proper storage, you can significantly prolong the lifespan of your company access card.

  1. Avoid Magnetic Interference

Magnetic interference can negatively impact the performance of access control cards, rendering them ineffective. To extend the life of your card, it is essential to avoid exposing it to magnetic fields or devices that generate strong magnetic forces.

Keep your access control card away from objects such as magnets, mobile phones, or electronic devices with strong magnetic components. These items have the potential to disrupt the data stored on the card's magnetic strip or interfere with the RFID chip's functionality. By taking precautions to minimize magnetic exposure, you can ensure the longevity and reliability of your access control card.

  1. Protect from Physical Damage

An access control card consists of delicate components, including an embedded RFID chip or magnetic strip. Protecting these components from physical damage is crucial for maintaining the card's functionality.

To prevent accidental damage, always keep your access control card separate from sharp objects, keys, or other items that could scratch or damage its surface. Additionally, avoid exposing the card to extreme temperatures, direct sunlight, or excessive humidity, as these environmental factors can compromise its structural integrity. By safeguarding your company access card from physical harm, you can ensure its long-term usability.

  1. Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning is an essential yet often overlooked practice to preserve the functionality of your access control card. Over time, cards can accumulate dirt, oils, or debris, which can impair the card's performance or interfere with its readability.

To clean your access control card, use a soft, lint-free cloth specifically designed for electronic devices. Gently wipe the surface of the card, ensuring that you do not apply excessive pressure or scrub vigorously, as this may damage the card. By periodically removing dirt and contaminants, you can maintain the card's readability and extend its overall lifespan. (NOTE: It is advisable to refrain from using cleaners on your card, as doing so could likely damage the card’s internal circuitry.)

  1. Optimal Usage Techniques

Practicing optimal usage techniques is key to maximizing the lifespan of your access control card. These techniques include:

  1. Avoiding Flexing or Bending: Refrain from bending or flexing your access control card excessively. Excessive bending can damage the internal components, rendering the card unusable.
  2. Single Card Usage: Use your access control card as a standalone item. Avoid placing multiple cards together, as the friction and pressure between cards can cause scratches or wear on the surface.
  3. Proper Swiping or Tapping: When using your access control card, swipe or tap it gently and smoothly across the reader. Avoid applying excessive force or repeatedly swiping the card, as this can lead to premature wear of the card's magnetic strip or RFID microchip.
  4. Keep Away from Liquids: Avoid exposing your access control card to liquids or moisture. Liquids can seep into the card's components, causing damage or malfunction.
  5. Remove Before Activities Involving Magnets: Prior to engaging in activities that involve strong magnetic forces, such as using magnetic name tags or passing through security checkpoints with magnetic scanners, remove your access control card to prevent potential data corruption.
  1. Regular Card Replacement

Despite proper maintenance, access control cards will eventually wear out over time. It is essential to keep track of the card's lifespan and replace it when necessary. Consult with your organization's security or IT department to determine the recommended replacement cycle for access control cards.

Regular card replacement ensures the continued security and effectiveness of your access control system. Outdated or worn-out cards may pose security risks or encounter performance issues. By staying proactive and adhering to a card replacement schedule, you can maintain a robust and reliable access control infrastructure.


Company access cards are indispensable tools for maintaining security and efficiency within organizations. By following these essential tips for access control card maintenance, you can extend the lifespan of your card and ensure its optimal performance. Handle your card with care, protect it from physical damage and magnetic interference, regularly clean it, practice optimal usage techniques, and replace it when necessary. By adopting these best practices, you will enjoy a longer-lasting and more reliable access control card, enhancing the overall security and efficiency of your organization.